Importance of Retainers
Why Are Retainers Important After Braces?
Remember to wear your retainer after braces will ensure your smile stays straight after your braces are removed.
Retainers are a crucial, but sometimes overlooked, a component of your orthodontic treatment. Patients look forward to the day their braces come off, but sometimes forget that the work isn’t over. But why is a retainer needed?
Retainers are important because they ensure your new smile has a chance to become stabilized while preventing the teeth from trying to move back to their old locations. Your braces work to guide your teeth through the bone to their new places. The periodontal ligament and membranes shift along with the teeth. Once your teeth have reached their final locations, it will take time for everything to stabilize enough to hold them in place. Bone remodeling has to take place – that means new bone must grow around the teeth in their new locations. The retainer will ensure the teeth stay in place and the periodontal ligament can’t try to pull them back to their old locations before the bone has a chance to rebuild.
For patients who don’t wear their retainers as they should, relapse is a possibility. Your teeth will want to shift back to their old locations because the periodontal ligament is elastic. If the teeth aren’t solidified in the new bone, that ligament will pull them back.
For the first six months after your braces are removed, wearing your retainer as often as possible is important. After that, your orthodontist may lessen your wear time until you are only wearing it overnight.
How to Take Care of Your Retainers?
There are some things to keep in mind with retainer wear. Taking proper care of it will extend its life and ensure your smile stays straight. Follow these tips:
- Keep a retainer case with you all the time. You’ll take your retainer out to eat, so when you’re at work or school make sure you have the case with you. Putting the retainer in a case when it’s out of your mouth will make you less likely to accidentally throw it away or misplace it.
- Keep your retainer away from your pets. More than one patient has had a retainer eaten by a dog!
- Remove your retainer when you eat or drink anything but plain water. Hot drinks can warp the plastic, and chewing with the retainer in can cause damage.
- Never use toothpaste to clean your retainer as this can damage it.
- Soak your retainer in denture cleaner to remove build-up.
- Always avoid hot water when cleaning or rinsing your retainer.
- Never store your retainer someplace hot.
If you have questions about your retainer wear, or if it becomes damaged or too tight, call our office right away. We’ll help you stay on the right track and keep your smile as straight as the day your braces were removed.